Building: Los Angeles' New Skyline

Among urban cognoscenti, Los Angeles has long been an object of scorn. Many critics for years ridiculed the sprawling metropolis as a gaggle of suburbs "in search of a city." They had a point. The core of the city not only failed to share in Southern California's explosive postwar growth but developed ominous symptoms of decay. Though downtown Los Angeles remained a stronghold for banking, finance, oil and insurance, jobs in other fields followed people to the suburbs. Vacancy rates soared in dingy old office buildings. Sleazy stores and bad restaurants proliferated. Forsaken by many retailers, streets that once bustled...